Afrika keen to make Kings his next challenge

[caption id="attachment_36598" align="alignright" width="405"] HEADING HOME?: Sevens star Cecil Afrika could well join the Kings in the future. Picture: GETTY IMAGES[/caption]

SEVENS star Cecil Afrika could be the latest player to fit the motto preached by the EP Kings: "bring them home, keep them home".

A source close to the Kings said Eastern Province had been approached by the Sevens playmaker who is keen to return to the city of his birth once his playing days with the Blitz Bokke are over.

The 26-year-old Missionvale-born star would be a huge boost to the Kings who have adopted a more attacking, adventurous style under new head coach Carlos Spencer.

Afrika, who played for the Baby Boks in 2008, played fullback for the Griffons during the early part of his career.

Though Afrika has apparently shown an interest in linking up with the Kings, his mind will be firmly on the Sevens format of the game this weekend when he takes part in the Roma Sevens tournament at Rome's URC Stadium.

Afrika has also been included in the Springbok Sevens squad that will participate for Team South Africa in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month and has the opportunity in Rome to regain match-fitness after injuries sidelined him in the latter part of the regular season of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell also named a number of fringe players for the tournament, which was won by South Africa last year in their build-up to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow.

Three players, Shaun Adendorff, WJ Strydom and Mark Richards, will again make the trip, while Paul Delport will be keen to show he is over the injury problems that prevented his participation in the HSBC World Series.

Regular series participants Steven Hunt and Jamba Ulengo will also travel, as well as a number of players from the Sevens Elite Player Development Programme.

Powell is keen to have Afrika fit and ready for the Glasgow showpiece and hopes he will come through Rome well.

"It is a great opportunity to get a player like Cecil some game-time because he has not played in a while.

"Every tournament we go to, we want to win, so results will be important, but this is also an ideal opportunity for the squad to get back into the groove of playing tournament sevens again," the coach said.

"With the next world series also on the horizon, it will be a good exercise to see the fringe players perform under pressure away from home."

Among the 16 teams participating are the national teams from France, Italy, Georgia and Brazil.

The SA team for Rome is: Nardus van der Walt, Joshua Moon, Shaun Adendorff, Jamba Ulengo, Vincent Maruping, Paul Delport, Lungelo Gosa, WJ Strydom, Sandile Ngcobo, Cecil Afrika, Mark Richards, Steven Hunt. - George Byron